Just looking ahead to the early months of 2019, it seems as if it may be the Year of Arthur Miller. Other than it being the 70th anniversary of Death of a Salesman (which is part of the Young Vic’s next programme), I’m so far struggling to find a reason why he’s become the playwright to produce this year! What better excuse do I need to get to know him a bit better? Going into this year, the extent of my knowledge is based around The Crucible and the McCarthyism that inspired it (thank you, GCSE English Lit!) – and that also happens to be the only play of his that I’ve previously seen staged. All that is about to change…
Who was Arthur Miller?
He was born Arthur Asher Miller on 17 October 1915 in Harlem, New York City, to Isidore and Augusta Miller. After a comfortable start to life, the Great Depression hit his father’s manufacturing business and forced the family to relocate to Brooklyn, where a young Miller would deliver bread each morning to help boost the household income. Once he saved up the money, he enrolled at the University of Michigan where he majored first in journalism, before switching to English and graduating in 1938. He wrote his first play, No Villain, whilst a student. Though he’s most known for his stage work, he also wrote radio plays, screenplays (including an adaptation of The Crucible which starred his son-in-law, Daniel Day-Lewis), essays, and both fiction & non-fiction books. Miller was married three times, most famously to Marilyn Monroe, and died from bladder cancer and heart failure on 10 February 2005 in Roxbury, Connecticut.
An Enemy of the People, Union Theatre